In a nutshell, managed network services is a way to outsource the day-to-day management of your information technology needs. A managed IT provider (also labeled as managed service provider, MSP, or managed network provider) can supplement your in-house IT department or become your IT department, depending on your business goals, internal IT savvy, and budget.
In other words, a managed IT provider (or partner as we like to say) is essentially your IT department (and a good one will be invested in your success as a company). When you outsource your network or other aspect of IT, your managed IT partner proactively manages information technology assets on behalf of a customer. This differs from traditional IT which is a reactive service built around a break and fix model.
There are various levels of service that can be outsourced, from network monitoring and alerts that a company will then fix internally to full-fledged monitoring and problem resolution.
The Challenge of Managing Networks
Of course, it is possible for companies to manage their own networks – sometimes even cost-effectively. Even so, there are opportunity costs from devoting resources into internal maintenance of a service that you could outsource (and thereby freeing budget to focus on more revenue-generating IT initiatives).
Here are only a few common challenges of network management done in-house:
Reducing network overhead costs while increasing network services
Supporting dynamic business growth with restricted budgets and staffing levels
Needing to respond quickly to time-to-market demands
Implementing new technologies to maintain competitiveness
Supporting new business operations and markets or integrating acquisition
Managing, maintaining, and upgrading network infrastructure and management systems
Delivering high-quality, high-availability network services to meet 24-hour demand
If your office has voice over IP, ensuring that voice traffic and call quality have sufficient priority
Securing data, transactions, and communications to keep up with the latest security threats, as well as meeting privacy and security regulations
Delivering services to more remote offices and workers
Finding, recruiting, and retaining certified network professionals
Helping staff stay current with new technologies and skills
Focusing employees on core competencies and mission-critical processes, rather than network support
What is included in Outsourced IT Support?
Common elements included in a managed network services partnership include:
Block spam, phishing scams, malware, and other inappropriate email content before it can get inside of your network.
Detailed reporting allows you to see the applications and personnel taking up the majority of your network resources. Monitoring also provides insight into traffic bottlenecks and peak periods so that you can add more capacity when needed and prevent your employees from becoming frustrated.